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tv   ABC World News With Diane Sawyer  ABC  March 24, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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tonight on "world news," an abc news exclusive. martha raddatz right off the coast of libya where those american jets are taking off to pound gadhafi targets. tonight, she's with the american commander who will soon hand over power. and the inside story behind that dramatic rescue of american pilots, ejecting from 22,000 feet. air scare in this country. swift action after "world news" last night here. those two planes landing, the air traffic controller asleep. and what we discovered about 30 other airports tonight. breakthrough. what we just learned about congresswoman gabby giffords. medical mystery. is there a link between something in your home, your kitchen, and early men know pause? and the changing modern family. what we're all learning from
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gloria tonight. >> the people here, the best. and good evening on this thursday. just as we go on the air tonight, we're learning of an agreement for the u.s. to hand over a huge part of that bold operation over libya. and tonight, an abc news exclusive. martha raddatz with extraordinary access. behind me, you're looking at the "usskearsarge." martha spending hours on board with the american commander. tonight, the latest on these new u.s. plans to hand over partial control and she has ne details about the rescue of those u.s. pilots ejecting from 22,000 feet and tough questions for the commander. will this operation be a success in the end? martha landed back at a u.s. base in italy just a short time
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ago and has the latest. >> reporter: good evening, david. there are a lot of details to be worked out about that nato plan, but we did spend a remarkable day jumping from warship to warship with the man currently in charge. general carter ham took charge of africa command on march 9th. ten days later, he was at war. and now, he is here, in the middle of the fight, touring the u.s. warships off the coast in libya. he brought the sailors and marines some encouragement from their commander in chief -- >> he said, how are the attacks going? and i said, mr. president, the marines are hammering the [ bleep ] out of them. >> reporter: today, for the first time, general hall saw colonel gadhafi daring to violate the no fly zone. putting up an aircraft. >> we saw libyan fighter jet, taking off, it was detected by french aircraft.
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and with standing yules of engagement, appropriately attacked that aircraft. >> reporter: this is the ship that sent rescue teams to pick up the downed f-15 pilot. these are the two marine pilots who picked him up after he and his weapons officer ejected at 22,000 feet in the dead of night. it is the first time they have told their story. >> we saw his flare on the ground and we got eyes on his position. and an airplane way up overhead at about 25,000 feet was able to shine a laser down. >> reporter: they could hear his voice over the radio. how did he describe the situation? >> he was understandably a little frazzled. >> reporter: the osprey descended. >> as soon as we set up for our approach to land, he started bolting for the airplane. i think he said that he was in our dust cloud by the time we landed. he was running at the airplane like this.
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>> reporter: the f-15 pilot was on board seconds later. >> it was awesome. >> reporter: how did that feel when you were taking off? >> it was awesome. that's probably the coolest thing i've done. >> reporter: but desite pa success, this is a frustrating, complicated mission for general ham. you can't stop all the violence, you can't get the snipers, you can't really tell people apart. >> but i believe we are and can continue to make a difference. does it bother me that there are innocent civilian people who have been slaughtered by these people while it's been my mission to protect them? i absolutely take that to heart. >> reporter: and the fact there is no clear end state? does it surprise you that we're just now discussing what the next phase is? >> could have had and obviously would have been nice to have the longer debate, but he was slaughtering his own people. you can't stand by, i don't think you can stand by and have that debate about end state while he's killing his own
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people. by that point, it may have become a moot point. >> and martha's back with us from that u.s. naval base in italy. martha, we're just learning of the u.s. plan to hand over a huge portion of this operation. what more do you know tonight? >> reporter: well, i talked with general ham about this today. i think basically what nato will take over is the no-fly zone, but there's still disagreement about who will protect civilians. in other words, some of the allies don't want to shoot down tanks or forces of gadhafi. so, there's still a lot to work out here, david. >> all right, martha raddatz leading the way on this operation again for us tonight. thank you. and back here at home, and the planes flying over this country now. last night here, we broke the story of that air traffic controller alone and falling asleep on the job. two planes having to land in washington, d.c. without any help. and tonight, a look at the skies. every small plane there in the air right now over the u.s. this evening, your correspondent a asks, just how many of these
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planes are relying on air traffic controllers working alone? jim sciutto on it again tonight. >> reporter: good evening, david. we found out today that controller, a supervisor with 20 years experience, 17 here in the tower, was asleep on the job. and it is raising hard questions, when you're flying in, particularly at nigh, how many people are on duty and crucially are they ready? the controller, a 20-year veteran with a previously unblemished professional record, told investigators today he was fast asleep while two commercial jets on approach tried repeatedly to contact him. tonight, the ntsb confirmed he was working his fourth consecutive overnight shift. but it's happened before. two years ago, another controller mistakenly locked himself out of the same tower for 15 minutes, leaving the tower unmanned. today, transportation secretary ray lahood, described as furious, immediately required
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two controllers on duty here, going forward. but the faa told abc news today, there are 30 airports around the country that at times have only one controller on duty. the faa wouldn't identify them, but we've learned one is richmond, virginia. if you make an immediate decision to add a second controller here, why not do the same at those 29 other airports around the country? >> well, this is critical air space. >> reporter: bob richards, who worked 22 years as a controller in chicago, america's second busiest airport, told us two controllers should be the bare minimum anywhere. >> common sense, basically. you need two controllers to do two things. one would be working on an emergency flight that is having a problem and the other person would be there to coordinate the emergency equipment. >> reporter: fatigue and staffing have long played air traffic controllers. the ntsb put addressing fatigue on its most wanted safely list. but the ntsb said this is not just a nice thing, it's a necessary thing and a priority.
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it's something that needs to be changed. >> well, anyone who doesn't think their fit to work should tell us they're not fit to work. >> reporter: the faa is reviewing staffing at those 29 airports and we're learning just now more of them, san diego, sacramento, tucson, but they won't say how quickly and how many will be changed, david. >> so, jim, the faa acknowledging to you that there should be two controllers everywhere, but no promise to change it tonight? >> reporter: well, the faa acknowledging there should be at least two controllers here at reagan national, a crucial air space, but when i said, isn't the air space at all airports crucial, they said, well, they are focusing on this one for now and looking at the others going forward. >> all right, jim sciutto, thank you. we turn now to the congresswoman and her comeback. we learned late today of an important, but difficult milestone for congresswoman gabrielle giffords. now beginning to grasp part of that awful day. here's dan harris tonight. >> reporter: as captain mark kelly and his five crewmates entered the news conference, you could see right there on their
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wrists the turquoise blase lets that read "gabby." then, the commander announced that the congresswoman is doing, quote, remarkably well. >> she's improving every day and in the realm of brain injuries, that's significant and rare. >> reporter: she said giffords is walking and talking more every day. >> i see her every morning. when i come home from work, at the end of my day. >> reporter: captain kelly said his wife is now aware of how she got injured. that shooting outside the shopping center in tucson. >> she's starting to process some of the tragedy that we all went through in january. she's going through that as we speak. despite that, she remains in a very good mood. >> reporter: kelly is set to blast off next month on the second to last shuttle mission ever. he is a man balancing towering profession aal responsibilities with extraordinary personal demands. and he said he wants his wife to be there to see the launch. >> she was really looking forward to having the
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opportunity to be there and i think there's a pretty good chance that's going to happen. >> reporter: a pretty good chance, he said. he's just waiting for final approval from the doctors. the doctors who are overseeing what appears to be an extraordinary recovery. d dan harris, abc news. >> our thanks to dan for that. going to turn next to the damage left behind from a tornado that tore across part of pennsylvania. not the place or the time of year you'd expect to see this, at least not yet. matt gutman is in greensburg, pennsylvania, tonight. >> do you see that? it's coming down hard. >> reporter: with winds over 120 miles per hour, it gutted dozens of homes, spewing out their contents across the hillsides. donna ross called her husband just moments before the tornado to warn him. >> called him and told him it hit here. >> reporter: i'm so sorry. >> i know. i know.
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but i'm just happy everybody is okay. >> reporter: the funnel cloud then went howling forwards hempfield high school. >> there's a tornado right there. >> reporter: dozens were here at the field as the wind rips down brick and twisted bleachers like they were made out of straw. and despite all of the damage here, david, and there has been so much of it, check out this house, this kitchen simply exploded. everything was suckled out of this cabinet, shot right out into the front yard, everything that was inside here, croutons, powdered sugar. so, despite all of this damage, david, no one was actually hurt. but there has been a lot of heartache here. the family was planning to move in here this weekend. instead of moving all their stuff in, they have to move everything out. this home is going to be raised, david. >> all right, matt gutman with the devastation here in this country tonight. matt, thank you. we're going to turn to the disaster in the pacific, where radiation fears continue to grip japan. the governor of tokyo tried to
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make a point to millions of anxious people in that city, drinking a glass of tap water himself. one day after people were told it was not safe for baby. now, saying that the iodine levels are again safe. and at the nuclear plant, three workers got so close that they suffered radiation burns. their skin peeling. they were taken to the hospital. and, one more image we were reminded today, this one, from that coastal city hard hit from the tsunami. you'll remember that giant wave barrelling over walls and bridges. well, tonight, clarissa ward goes back there. >> reporter: they come every morning, baskets bundled on their backs, searching for scraps of their former lives. a shoe, an old photo album, any reminder of life before. "i knew her, she's dead," this woman tells me. "i should take this to her
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family." relief workers wading through muddied waters. sawing through mounds of debris. the people of taro actually built this 30-foot wall to protect them from the tsunami. but when that wave hit, it swept right over the top, completely wiping out everything in its path. and then the wall acted like as a barrier, preventing the water from receding back out to sea. authorities here fear as many as 1,000 people may have drowned. some have given up their search. >> my friend and newborn baby two days old are under the sea. so, there's no way i can find her. >> reporter: others refuse to stop. hiromitsu sasaki cannot find his sister. "i will stay," he tells me, "until i find her." the living, returning home. hoping to salvage something from
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all that has been lost. collar race is a ward, abc news, taro. >> and still ahead here as we continue on "world news," a major medical question tonight. there something in your home in your kitchen, right now, that could trigger early menopause? and, she makes us laugh. gloria, right there, with orde s s for her husband in the kitchen. but why we should all be listening to this modern family. and, the portrait of a woman who changed america. do you recognize them? [ woman ] welcome back, jogging stroller. you've been stuck in the garage, while my sneezing and my itchy eyes took refuge from the dust in here and the pollen outside. but with 24-hour zyrtec®, i get prescription strength relief from my worst allergy symptoms. it's the brand allergists recommend most. ♪ lily and i are back on the road again. where we belong.
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are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. the likelihood and severity of these side effects may increase as the dose increases. patients may experience loss of appetite or weight. patients who weigh less than 110 pounds may experience more side effects. people at risk for stomach ulcers who take certain other medicines should talk to their doctor because serious stomach problems such as bleeding may worsen. people with certain heart conditions may experience slow heart rate. [ woman ] whenever i needed her, she was there for me. now i'm here for her. [ female announcer ] ask the doctor about your loved one trying the exelon patch. visit to learn more. tonight, we turn to yet another headline about the science of menopause. a new study suggesting that something in our every day environment, even our kitchens, could be linked to early onset menopause. here's deborah roberts. >> reporter: the findings give american women yet another reason to be concerned about the environment and their health. >> the study found a clear link
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between more pfcs in the female body and earlier menopause. >> reporter: pfcs are chemicals found all around us, in furniture, cosmetics, food packaging. >> studies that we've done looking at these chemicals in the u.s. population show that almost everyone has these chemicals in their blood. >> reporter: pfcs have long been linked to cancers and thyroid disease in animal studies. and the type found in nonstick frying pans has been known to kill birds and cause flu-like symptoms in people, though chemical companies maintain their product is safe. but today's study raises questions if early menopause is new reason to worry in general. in a study group of 26,000 women, high levels of pfcs were found in those experiencing early onset menopause, as young as 42. the women also saw a big drop in their estrogen levels. >> it did not prove whether that
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is because earlier menopause causes pfcs to be higher or pfcs cause earlier menopause. >> reporter: the report is raising eyebrows. some doctors say they're not surprised that chemicals are altering hormone levels, but say they need more proof. when we will know if this is a legitimate link or not? >> we'll knoll in a few years. >> reporter: researchers from the study tell us there's cleary reason to be concerned about our chemical exposure but they caution that this is only the beginning in their efforts to understood how they affect our hor nobo hormones, david. >> deborah, thank you. dr. besser, how concerned does this make you? >> reporter: these are very corn fusing issues. but david, i am concerned about chemicals in the environment and its impact on our health. i have a wife, i don't want her exposed to anything that could
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be dangerous. but there is some good news. the epa has worked to eliminate the use of several of these and by 2015 all of these chemicals will be replaced by safer alternatives. and that's very good news. >> so, some movement on it tonight. >> reporter: there is. >> thank you both. when we come back on "world news," why that famous character gloria has something to teach us all about the modern family. r 1. ...but my symptoms kept coming back... ...kept coming back. then i found out advair helps prevent symptoms from happening in the first place. advair is for asthma that's not well controlled on a long-term asthma medicine, such as an inhaled corticosteroid. advair will not replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. advair contains salmeterol which increases the risk of death from asthma problems and may increase the risk of hospitalization in children and adolescents. advair is not for people whose asthma is well controlled with a long-term asthma control medicine like an inhaled corticosteroid. once your asthma is well controlled your doctor will decide if you can stop advair without loss of control and prescribe
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it also cleans leather, gives a luster to laminate, stainless, even granite. today, pledge shines more than end tables. [ female announcer ] sc johnson, a family company. to finish what you started today. for the aches and sleeplessness in between, there's motrin pm. no other medicine, not even advil pm, is more effective for pain and sleeplessness. motrin pm. we have a fascinating new snapshot to show you tonight of
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your neighbors, all 300 million of them right here in america. it's a brand new look at this country who we really are, where we really live. and one little town with a big new honor. here's john berman. >> reporter: what is the image of the modern family? according to brand new data from the census, the modern family is in fact "modern family." especially gloria. >> jay? jay? jay? >> reporter: born in colombia. hispanics accounted for more than half of the u.s. population growth over the last decade. now 50 million strong, their numbers doubled in five states. gloria and husband jay. >> people understand me just fine. >> reporter: the modern couple. >> it's been a fun week. >> reporter: 15% of marriages are mixed race. and americans calling themselves multiracial? up 32% since 2000. the census also says we are moving ever faster west and south. in 1790, the country's population center, literally the point it would balance on a scale, was in maryland.
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by 1820, into west virginia. mountain momma, take me home, thank you, john denver. then, into ohio. there goes cincinnati, see you, loni anderson. indiana by 1900, nice shot hoosiers. illinois by 1950. then in 1980, missouri said, "show me the center!" and as of today, the new population center of america -- plato, missouri. population 109. we spoke to the mayor. do you kneel feel more important? >> well, personally, probably not, but for the town, i feel like it's pretty good for the town. >> reporter: plato gets a plaque. jay and gloria? knowledge that different is the new normal. john berman, abc news, new york. >> our thanks to john, jay and gloria. and when we come back here on the broadcast, the extraordinary photographer behind these images of a president. was this the first reality tv?
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jackie kennedy. and her husband, then senator john kennedy, running for president in 1960. the images were extraordinary, not just because of their content, but because of the way they were captured, cinema verite, the critical documentary "primary." >> just stopping by to say hello. >> reporter: no scripts, just the camera rolling. and behind the lens, richard leacock and his team of photographers. robert drew, d.a. pennebaker. leacock once spoke of the unspoken rules. >> never ask anybody to do anything. never ask someone to repeat a line. >> reporter: tonight, his peers honor him. >> there isn't a single documentary filmmaker that can match his all around capabilities. >> reporter: there were so many moments. jackie kennedy's white-gloved hands, her nervous fingers, about to make a speech herself.
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john kennedy's hands, adjusted ever so slightly. >> look in on people's lives at crucial times from which you can deduce certain things. >> reporter: leacock and his fellow photographers earning a sort of trust unparalleled today. capturing a laugh as big as the oval office. from a tiny camera and a team of photographers who would change how we see the world forever. pictures that will live on. that is the broadcast for tonight. we're always on an "nightline" later. i hope to see you tomorrow morning with "gma." good night.
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